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ICA praises Sri Lanka for safeguarding gem industry

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Chairman of the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) Clement Sabbagh lauded efforts taken by the new government to bring about sweeping changes in the gem and jewelry industry.

Speaking at a press briefing hosted past week to commemorate the official launch of the ICA Congress in Sri Lanka this year, he praised the government for taking steps to protect the local industry whilst promoting its precious gems to the rest of the world.

“Sri Lanka has managed to regulate its gems and Jewelry industry and can be seen as an example for its mining legislation efficiently protective of the environment and small miners alike.” he opined.

President Maithripala Sirisena recently cancelled the mining license issued by the previous government to 16 foreign companies who were on the quest for blue Sapphires and other precious gems, the President’s media unit had stated.

The permits were withdrawn in an effort to protect the local gem mining industry. The president has also given stern instructions to relevant officials to prohibit any foreign national or company from mining for gems in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka will be host to the ICA Congress in Colombo in May from 16th to 19th at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo this year. This is the second time that ICA has chosen Sri Lanka to host the congress.

Sri Lanka hosted one of the first ICA Congress in 1989,” he said. “Since then Sri Lanka has developed its mining and processing industry to become one of the most important hubs for Gems and Jewelry.

In addition to the fact that Sapphires are mostly sourced from Sri Lanka he cited that other stones such as Spinel, Moonstones, Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eyes, Alexandrite and Zircon are also sourced from the country.

A.H.M Imtizam, Chairman ICA Congress Committee Sri Lanka 2015 noted the main organizers of the event, the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry Association, National Gem & Jewelry Authority as well as co-organizers Export Development Board have vouched their fullest cooperation in organizing this congress.

The theme for the event is “Sapphire & MORE”. As part of the congress, a gem trade show ‘FACETS’ will run from May 15 to 18 at the same venue. There will also be a cricket, golf and tennis tournaments to complement the tour. Members of ICA who have vested interest in the field would be offered a Mine Tour which would take them on a 7-day journey from Ratnapura to Elahera and Beruwela. Four theme nights as well as a street party also awaits delegates taking part in this year’s congress.

Secretary of the ICA Congress 2015, Ziqufi Ismail noted that they have received a very positive feedback from the trade fair in Hong Kong, which just concluded. “This year’s ICA Congress is garnering a lot of interest and we are certain it would translate into a favorable, productive and successful congress.”

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